The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2013, approved by the Union Cabinet on Thursday night, envisages a unique role for the Governor.

Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana would have a common Governor for 10 years.

This is a distinctive case. Only when a Governor is on leave or there is a vacancy in a State, is Governor of the neighbouring State given additional charge by the President on the advice of the Union government.

However, the case of the two new States is special as both of them could share Hyderabad as common capital for a maximum period of 10 years.

Andhra Pradesh would locate a new capital. The Centre would constitute an experts committee to study various alternatives for a new capital. The Government of India will provide a special financial package for the creation of administrative infrastructure to set up new capital.

The Governor for both the States shall decide upon matters in the discharge of his functions, on the advice of the Council of Ministers of the respective States, whose decision shall be final.

“In this regard, it is pertinent to mention that there are all possibilities of difference of opinion and conflict of interests in the advice to be tendered by the Council of Ministers of the successor States on various issues,” a Cabinet note put up for consideration of the Union Cabinet stated.

The Governor of Telangana will have a special responsibility for the security of life, liberty and property of all those who reside in the common capital area. The Governor may be assisted by two advisers to be appointed by the Government of India.

The Law Ministry, on a reference made by the government, also examined the feasibility of empowering the common Governor of the successor States with powers similar to those conferred upon the Governor under Article 371H in respect of Arunachal Pradesh.

However, the Law Ministry was of the view that the situations are not comparable. It had said, “ ... Article 371H was inserted consequent to the Constitution (Fifty fifth Amendment) Act, 1986 (which came into force on 20.2.1987) at the time of conferment of statehood on the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh.”

This was found necessary due to the sensitive location and constitutional history of Arunachal Pradesh. “Therefore, as no such circumstances exist with regard to the State of Andhra Pradesh, this may require a constitutional amendment and therefore, it may not be feasible to incorporate a provision to that effect in the State Reorganisation Act relating to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.”

Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, a key member of the GoM, told The Hindu that though the bill was an outcome of extensive consultations with a cross-section of the society, the government was open to changes.

“The bill would be debated in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and come back to the Cabinet. It would also be debated in both Houses of Parliament. If there are any worthwhile suggestions, they can be considered,” he said.

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